Raw Vérité?

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what I put into my mouth. As a vegan, one might think that’s business as usual, but, as I tell people who ask me about my being vegan, it’s completely second nature to me now, and if a barista at the local coffee shop accidentally pours cow’s milk into my chocolate milk instead of soy, I know from the first sip. Fortunately for me (and these guys), my taste buds changed with my ethics. But that first change in my diet keeps me pondering ways I can change it even more. After all, I spent fifteen years of my life shoving cheeseburgers and ice cream into my mouth without batting an eye. What else am I doing that I will think back on and say, “I can’t believe I ate that stuff”?

It’s amazing how far from the source of our food we’ve gotten. In college, I wrote my senior thesis on American cookbooks and how they reflect the evolution (or demise) of our agricultural system. Dinner is now: unwrap, place in microwave, press a few buttons, put on plate (or paper towel or just in your hand) and eat. With the serene scene of happy farmers tending the garden replaced by huge, single-crop farms, I’m seeking the answer to the question: “Where does our food come from?”

  1. The supermarket
  2. Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s
  3. The local food co-op
  4. The farmer’s market
  5. My backyard/kitchen garden

When I was living in Kalamazoo, the answer was usually 3, 4 and 5. Now that I’m in St. Louis, it’s almost exclusively 2. I have the opening dates of the nearby farmer’s markets marked on my calendar and can’t wait to meet and get to know the farmers here. I’m also planning on starting my own “container garden” since I’ve turned into quite the nomad and won’t be staying put for a while. Nevertheless, I still feel far removed from the soil and hands my food comes from.

The other question I’ve been asking is “How does the food I eat make me feel?” It’s no secret that diet is one of the most important factors that contributes to our health/well-being. But how often do we really pay attention to the way the food we eat makes us feel? Our bodies are pretty good at telling us when they are out of whack. Unexplained fatigue, migraines, irritability, upset stomach, etc. could be our bodies telling us that something is wrong. But how often do we listen? I’ve been getting migraines since I was a pre-teen and the doctors would always test my eyes and ask if I consume caffeine. I didn’t consume caffeine (except excess amounts of chocolate) and my eyes were fine. I still get migraines and still don’t know the cause. After reading Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet, I’m motivated to test out a few different changes in my diet and see how I feel (with regard to the migraines and just general mood/energy). These include:

  • No refined sugars, including white bread/flour/rice and all forms of sugar – including brown sugar, evaporated cane juice and sucanat i.e. natural cane sugar. This doesn’t include, however, agave nectar and dried fruits.
  • No gluten
  • No caffeine (except raw cocao powder) or alcohol (I don’t consume either anyway, but just in case you didn’t already know that)
  • As much raw food as possible

I bought a handy-dandy notebook to jot down what I eat and how I feel, if there is anything notable to note. I’ve been eating almost every meal raw except for dinner. I’ve noticed a more “heavy” feeling after the cooked dinner versus feeling more energized after eating raw foods. As someone who once said, “I’d never be a vegan” AND someone who once said “I’d never be a raw foodist,” I’m keeping my options open 😉

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